Wednesday, June 27, 2007

You get what you pay for

The opinions expressed on this blog are available for free, and so, they're worth nothing. Tom Callinan explained his grand strategy for rescuing the Enquirer's dead tree edition, and it's pretty much the same thing: Get readers to give you content for nothing. And that's what it's worth.

I find no use for the Enquirer's Get Local section, which is the result of Get Published. The section for Batavia has not a single user-submitted item, and has such can't miss news as "New breakfast items at Wendy's". The Hamilton section has this item submitted by "user" Sue Kiesewetter, wife of Enquirer TV writer John Kiesewetter and also a long-time stringer for the Enquirer. (Tag line for the item is this clumsy line: "Contributed By Sue Kiesewetter | Enquirer contributor".)

Does anyone else read or use Get Local? It doesn't even register on the web stats I've seen for the Enquirer, and the Enquirer just moved the editor responsible for starting Get Published, Ron Liebau, back to Metro, to supervise reporters again.

What's another name for stuff you give away for free that you get for free? I'd call it garbage. The article, describing Callinan's appearance at a panel discussion on the future of newspapers, says "Get Local" traffic actually fell in May to 157,619 page views, which is miniscule. The stuff that the Enquirer is getting for free is about library hours and church events. It is not real news or anything that looks like watchdog journalism. Gannettoids love to talk about crowdsourcing, but the Enquirer can't point to two or three projects it's done involving crowdsourcing. It's a novelty unless you're doing one of those every week.

Callinan said, "We realize we've got to change or die." The change he's calling for, however, is to make lots of money by getting people to read stuff the Enquirer gets for free. That's just not going to happen. The change I'd like to see is more news, better reporting. The Enquirer has cut its staff and is now producing less news. The Gannett dictum of doing more with less is not going to result in a product people will want to view 10 years from now, whether or not they're asked to pay for it.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

GetPublished is a half-assed version of what many papers are doing. If you want to see it done better, look at the Scripps version:

10:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another step in creating the world's largest shopper, with a sharply reduced staff -- both in numbers, and down the road, in their pay. Count on it.

Does anybody notice how the Enquirer, for a daily newspaper, so closely resembles in its coverage philsophy what you might expect from a weekly in rural Kentucky? You know, one of those papers frightened to offend anybody by actually reporting the news....

9:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just heard Tom Callinan in a private presentation and he came across like someone who hung around a business too long and is doing his best to act plugged in by reciting the latest buzzwords and netspeak. There was something mechanical about everything the Enquirer people had to say, like it was programmed or something. None of it was terribly original.

8:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe there's less content because reporters are too busy sleeping with each other to get any work done. No comment from NewsAche on the newsroom scandal referenced in the most recent edition of the Whistleblower?

9:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tell us more.

11:27 AM  
Blogger Kevin LeMaster said...

I posted this on another blog, but I'll repeat it here:

Why should I write articles for the Enquirer and let them profit from my hard work? Just so I can get some sort of thrill in saying that I've been "published"?

Sorry, not worth it.

1:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 9:32 AM - I missed that. Do elaborate...

4:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was told by friends before I moved here 25 years ago that the Enquirer was a lousy newspaper. They weren't kidding. Today, I don't have the the words to describe how awful it is, and I find myself longing for the good old days! You are so right about their Community Page crap. There's so little news about my city, they throw in items about other neighborhoods. If they didn't, my community's page would be blank most of the time. Who do they think they're kidding?

Two weeks ago, Channel 5 reported on a local government mini scandal. Not a peep out of the Enquirer about it, and they have a reporter assigned to cover our local government...or used to be. It certainly didn't appear on our local page. This was pretty big news for us. Was I supposed to report it to them FOR them? Would they have published my version of the events? Thankfully, we have a local blog. They picked up the phone, called the attorney for the complainants, and reported the attorney's account of the resolution of the problem with the city. Maybe there's a rule not to pick up a story reported by a TV station? But what it needed was follow-up.

In addition to this, they've failed to report on an ongoing delay by one of our elected officials to submit a report to the state. His delinquency is subject to fines and is affecting our city's financial health, ability to attract development, get financing, etc. How do I know this? From local public meetings on cable access, which have a limited audience. Where's the Enquirer reporter's investigation? Is this too hot to handle?

I loathe the Enquirer. Thank you for this magnificent piece!

6:49 AM  

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